Three area hospitals were recognized in a new nationwide survey for their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.
The Human Rights Campaign's Healthcare Equality Index 2011, released last week, cited Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center and NorthShore Evanston Hospital in such areas as training of staff on LGBT issues, extending "family" visitation rights to same-sex partners, and patient and employee nondiscrimination policies.
Advocate and Rush were named as "Leaders" for achievement on all seven criteria in the voluntary survey of hospitals.
"Our policies really are a reflection of what we do," said Marc Senesac, vice president of human resources at Advocate. "As an organization, we actually do live out the values we espouse."
Last year, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum addressing some LGBT issues. Many LGBT people decline medical attention because they fear discrimination or unfair treatment, or are denied visitation by loved ones.
But Advocate, located in the gay-friendly Lakeview community, "has opened the doors and made a more comfortable place for people who need to be here," Senesac said.
Advocate, Rush and NorthShore Evanston are poised to bring widespread attention to LGBT health care issues and help initiate policy changes that improve access, the survey notes.
The Illinois civil union law went into effect this month, drawing even more attention to state businesses and the need for inclusive practices.
— Kelly April, Tribune reporter
Study says cellphone-brain tumor link unlikely
Despite a recent move to classify mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic, the scientific evidence increasingly points away from a link between their use and brain tumors, according to a study.
A major review of previously published research by a committee of experts from Britain, the United States and Sweden concluded there was no convincing evidence of any cancer connection.
It also found a lack of established biological mechanisms by which radio signals from mobile phones might trigger tumors.
"Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults," the experts wrote in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The latest paper comes two months after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer decided cellphone use should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
Diet cola-related weight gain may be in your head
Diet soda may be associated with weight gain, as a study suggests, but the fault may lie in your head.
In a study that has sparked headlines along the lines of "Diet soda makes you fat," researchers found that people who drank diet soda for nearly a decade gained more stomach pudge than diet-drink abstainers.
The study wasn't huge or broad, assessing only 474 elderly participants, but it concluded that those who drank two or more diet soft drinks a day had the largest waistline increases — about five times more than that of abstainers. The results, which haven't been published or peer-reviewed, were announced at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.
The study did not say that artificially sweetened sodas make you gain weight.
As Richard Mattes, a nutrition scientist at Purdue University, points out: Heavy people simply might choose to consume more diet drinks.
Mattes has studied how artificial sweeteners affect appetite and food intake. He believes that many studies reporting a link between diet soda and weight gain are actually hitting on a behavioral phenomenon — people think they can eat more calories because they've swapped their regular soda for a Coke Zero.
Scientists seek bigger study on salt consumption
In an analysis likely to fuel a long-running debate over the health impacts of too much salt, researchers have found no evidence that moderate cuts to salt intake reduce the risk of developing heart disease or dying prematurely.
In a systematic review published by The Cochrane Library, British scientists found that though cutting salt consumption did appear to lead to slight reductions in blood pressure, that did not translate into lower death or heart disease risk.
The researchers said they suspected trials conducted so far were not large enough to show any benefits to heart health, and called for large-scale studies to be carried out soon.
"With governments setting ever-lower targets for salt intake and food manufacturers working to remove it from their products, it's really important that we do some large research trials to get a full understanding of the benefits and risks of reducing salt intake," said Rod Taylor, of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at Exeter University, who led the review.
Most experts agreed that consuming too much salt is not good for you and that cutting salt intake can reduce hypertension in people with normal and high blood pressure.
Although previous trials have suggested there is a blood pressure benefit from lower salt intake, research has yet to show whether that translates into better overall heart health in the wider population.
One in 8 U.S. patients who have nonemergency stenting procedures to clear blocked arteries in the heart are likely to see more harm than good from the procedure, researchers said.
The findings stoke concern about overuse of the invasive treatment, which costs the nation some $12 billion a year and offers few benefits over drug therapy unless the patient has suffered a heart attack.
"More than half of the inappropriate cases were in patients who didn't have any symptoms at all," said Dr. Paul Chan, whose results appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Each year in the U.S., about 600,000 stents — small metal mesh tubes — are inserted into ailing hearts to prop open blocked arteries, according to the report.
— From news servicesCopyright © 2015, CT Now